20th International AIDS Conference - Melbourne, Australia

MOSS01 The Future of Science in the HIV Response
  Special Session
Venue: Plenary 1
Time: 21.07.2014, 13:00 - 14:00
Co-Chairs: Jean-Francois Delfraissy, France
Gustav Nossal, Australia

This session will discuss the role of science in the HIV response – what we have achieved and where we need to go, including a state of the art review of HIV pathogenesis and future challenges for the science. The two major current scientific challenges are finding a cure and a vaccine. What are the major barriers? What are the recent successes? Can we learn from other fields to accelerate success in finding either a cure or a vaccine? What else must now be done?
J. Delfraissy, France

Critical challenges in HIV discovery: cure and vaccine
A. Fauci, United States

The killer defense
P. Doherty, Australia

Questions and answers

Closing remarks
G. Nossal, Australia

Powerpoints presentations
Introduction - Jean-Francois Delfraissy

Critical challenges in HIV discovery: cure and vaccine - Anthony Fauci

The killer defense - Peter Doherty
The killer defense - Peter Doherty
The killer defense - Peter Doherty
The killer defense - Peter Doherty

Rapporteur report

Track A report by Zabrina Brumme

This engaging session featured talks from Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and Dr. Peter Doherty, co-recipient of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his discoveries concerning the specificity of cell-mediated immunity.  


Dr. Jean-Francois Delfraissy opened the session by underscoring the importance of collaborative basic research in the fight against HIV.  “We need more basic science” he emphasized,  “in particular, we need to accelerate interaction between HIV research and other areas”.  He also emphasized the importance of implementation science, community based research and global health. 


Dr. Anthony Fauci opened his lecture with the hopeful statement that “breathtaking advances in treatment and prevention allow us to consider the possibility of a world without AIDS” – but went on to outline critical challenges in vaccine and cure research that will need to be overcome to achieve this goal. In particular, he stressed the complexity of the viral reservoir, in terms of both qualitative and quantitative characteristics.  Echoing statements made by Dr. Ananworanich during her morning plenary, Dr. Fauci emphasized that a combination approach would be needed to achieve sustained virologic remission: early treatment initiation would “stack the deck in favor of eradication” by limiting the seeding of the reservoir, while use of novel immunotherapies (including passive transfer of HIV specific antibodies or therapeutic vaccination) would help eliminate HIV and HIV-infected cells. Though Dr. Fauci acknowledged that a successful vaccine will likely need to stimulate multiple arms of the immune response, he emphasized recent advances in our understanding of the broadly neutralizing antibody response as particularly important.  In particular, strategies to recapitulate and accelerate the co-evolution of virus and neutralizing antibody during natural infection, via sequential, iterative vaccination with evolving envelope antigens, is an area of particular promise.


Dr. Peter Doherty then followed with a highly engaging overview of the role of cellular immune responses in controlling viral infections.  Describing CD8+ T-cells as the “hit men” of the immune system,  “operating at short range to eliminate damaged and dangerous self” by eliminating virus-infected cells, he drew comparisons between influenza and HIV to illustrate the important role that CD8+T-cells play in controlling both infections. He concluded that vaccine-induced CD8+ T-cells immunity could diminish mortality from flu and could also be useful components of an HIV vaccine.


    The organizers reserve the right to amend the programme.